[Imc-uk-features] revised proposed feature on iraqi oil workers
becca at corporatewatch.org
Thu May 10 10:17:36 PDT 2007
Title: Iraqi Oil Workers On Strike Over Privatisation Law
As efforts to secure lucrative <a
>oil privatisation contracts</a> in Iraq for multinational companies
progress, so does the resistance.
An all out strike <a href="en/2007/05/370089.html">strike</a> scheduled for
Thursday 10th May over the controversial Oil Law has been postponed until
Monday May 14th for negotiations to take place. The Union believes the
negotiations to be in good faith. The Union has been campaigning for
involvement in the law drafting process and for a full public consultation
to take place over the law which will decide how Iraq’s oil industry –
accounting for 95% of government revenue – will be developed.
The oil law proposes giving multinational companies the primary role in
developing Iraq's huge untapped oilfields, under contracts lasting up to
30 years. Oil production in Iraq, like in most of the Middle East, has been
in the public sector since the 1970s.
The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU), representing 26,000 oil workers,
has held three previous strikes since 2003, each time stopping exports, for
up to two days at a time. This strike similarly threatens to stop all
exports from the oil rich country.
Federation President Hassan Jumaa Awad al Assadi said: 'The oil law does not
represent the aspirations of the Iraqi people. It will let the foreign oil
companies into the oil sector and enact privatisation under so called
production sharing agreements. The federation calls for not passing the oil
law, because it does not serve the interests of the Iraqi people."
The Union is not alone in its condemnation of the current oil law. Opponents
of the law also include all of Iraq's other trade unions, a number of
political parties, and a group of over 60 senior Iraqi oil experts. But such
resistance has a cost. Union leaders have already received a number of death
threats which they are taking seriously. "As soon as the federation called
for the strike, many of our members and officials were physically threatened
by parties active in the political process, with the aim of thwarting the
strike and undermining the message of the strike organisers." The Ministry
of Oil has also threatened to take legal action against the union. The
strikers risk massive repression for taking such drastic action.
Hassan Jumaa went on to say: "The federation calls on all unions in the
world to support our demands and to put pressure on governments and the oil
companies not to enter the Iraqi oil fields."
The strike also aims to address longstanding demands for workers rights.
These includes restoration of a bonus payment roughly equivalent to a 13th
month's salary, land for homes, decent health and safety provisions
including personal protective equipment in all workplaces, and a coherent
system of salary calculation and payment.
The <a href="en/2007/03/365843.html?c=on#c169536">Hands Off Iraqi Oil
coalition</a> has recently formed to campaign in solidarity against the rip
off of Iraq's resources by multinational companies. We are encouraging
supporters to take action here in the UK as UK companies and the UK
government have taken leading roles in conducting this grab for corporate
control over Iraq's most precious resource. <a
> Here</a> you can find a model Trade Union motion to take to your union
branch to call for their support. There has also been an a <a
">Early day Motion</a> (a kind of parliamentary petition) tabled in
parliament - please write to your MP encouraging them to sign it. Find your
MP and email or write to them at http://www.theyworkforyou.com/
Hands Off Iraqi Oil is also holding a <a
href="en/2007/05/369454">protest</a> outside Shell's Annual General Meeting
on Tuesday 15th May. Please join us to show your solidarity and to oppose
the corporate takeover of Iraqi oil.
Meanwhile, emails and faxes supporting the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions in
their right to collectively bargain and expressing concern over alleged
threats of legal action and death threats would be appreciated.
Dear Mr Maliki
Dear Dr Hussein al Sharastani
I am writing to express support for the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions in
their right to take industrial action over issues relating to their members'
economic and social welfare.
I am also concerned that the union has recieved death threats for deciding
to take strike action and that the authorities have also threatened legal
action. I trust that the Union will not be penalised for taking action which
is legal according to the Iraqi constiution and a fundamental trade union
freedom recognised all over the world.
The Union has repeatedly asked for involvement in the drafting of the
Hydrocarbon Law but has been ignored. Iraqi civil society should be involved
in the decision making process over the future of the Iraqi economy - this
includes trade unions.
I will be monitoring the forthcoming news from the union and would like
assurance that union members will not be harmed or punished for their
actions. Yours Sincerely,.....
Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki
Minister of Oil, Dr Hussein al Sharastani
C/OEmbassy of the Republic of Iraq169 KnightsbridgeLondon SW7 1DWPhone:
(020) 7581 2264Fax: (020) 7589 3356E-mail: lonemb at iraqmofamail.net
Telephone: +44 207 602 8456 Fax: +44 207 371 1652
For more information about the campaign visit www.HandsOffIraqiOil.org If
you would like to sign up to our low-volume email alert list for news
updates and events, email us at handsoffiraqioil at googlemail.com
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